This is based on a dish I enjoyed eating in Yueyang, where it was made with small river shrimp, cooked in their shells. I’ve adapted the recipe to be made with shelled large shrimp, which have a different texture, but are still delicious. (Shrimp and Chinese chives are a particularly happy combination.) If you want a glossy, restaurant-style sauce, add a little stock at the end of cooking, and thicken with a mixture of potato flour and water.
- 1 lb. fresh or frozen raw large shrimp, thawed if frozen
- 3 oz. Chinese chives
- 2 tsp. finely chopped garlic
- 1 tbsp. chopped salted chiles or 1 tsp. dried chili flakes
- 1 tsp. Chinklang vinegar
- 1 fresh red chili, seeded and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp. sesame oil
- 1 cup of peanut oil for cooking
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. potato flour
- 1 small egg white
1. Shell and devein the shrimp, removing and discarding the heads and legs, if necessary, then rinse and shake dry. Put them in a bowl, add the marinade ingredients, and mix well; set aside
2. Trim the chives, discarding any tougher or wilted leaves (they should be pert and fresh) and cut into 1 ¼-inch pieces.
3. Heat the oil in a wok over a high flame until it reaches 300°F. Discard any excess egg white from the shrimp, then add them to the wok and fry briefly until pinkish but not fully cooked. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
4. Drain off all but 3 tablespoons of the oil. Add the garlic and chopped salted chiles and stir-fry briefly until fragrant. Add the shrimp, stirring well, followed by the vinegar.
5. When all is sizzling and delicious, add the chives and fresh chili and stir-fry until they are barely cooked. Season with salt to taste, then remove from the heat, stir in the sesame oil, and serve.
A similar recipe uses finely chopped garlic stems instead of Chinese chives; the method is the same except you stir-fry the garlic stems with the ginger and chopped salted chiles until fragrant, before adding the shrimp.
Nutritional information is based on 1/8 teaspoon added salt per serving.